This week's Dazed Visionaries are Australian creative collective The Glue Society, whose contrast of disturbing imagery and quiet revelations make their work both striking and unusual. Formed in 1998 by creative partners Jonathan Kneebone and Gary Freedman, The Glue Society produced interesting commercials for companies like Virgin Mobile, Renault and many, many others. In the fifteen years since, they've branched out into short films, music videos and even documentaries, and we're excited to present a selection of their work as part of their takeover. You can check that out here, and read what they have to say about their work below.
Dazed Digital: As part of your takeover, you've selected two films inspired by the horror genre, as well as three that make up what I guess can be described as a complex relationship trilogy. I'm curious as to how you approach such different projects as a collective. Where do the ideas come from and how do they develop?
The Glue Society: Something that we are always keen to do is involve the audience in whatever work we are making. Whether our art projects, film or entertainment work. Sometimes this is more explicit involvement - and sometimes it is more of an emotional thing.
DD: Watch With Mother is a six part horror series we created as an app which allows the audience to engage directly in the various sketches which make up the show. They can watch the show in random order or swipe from sketch to sketch based on where they draw the line on what makes them laugh or freak out. The Son of Kick music video is more of a straightforward twist - with the audience more engaged in the drama of the idea.
The Glue Society: The films that we have created exclusively for Dazed are conversations. But we gave ourselves the objective of disorienting the viewer in a very simple way. How might a conversation feel if we never see the person talking? Essentially at the end of the day, we think the end result is more likely to create a response if the audience have been included in the communication to some extent.
That is what unites all our work. So while they may be in different genres or disciplines, there is probably something a bit Glue Society about them.
DD: As well as short films, you've made music videos, commercials and documentaries in your career so far. In your experience, how do you think narrative filmmaking differs from the other forms you work in? Which, if any, do you prefer?
The Glue Society: It probably comes down to character and story of course. But also, we try to give all our work a decent reason to exist other than just being a commercial or a bit of piece of paid for marketing. It helps shape the work if the work has a better reason to exist than just to be selling something or making someone money. A lot of commercial projects kind of ignore this. But for us, if you can create a genuine context for an idea or a film, using narrative or story it can lift it up in to something more worthy of your attention.
We are always trying to bring the audience into the work we do, as we have said before. And again that is almost a given for narrative work. If the audience aren't involved you're probably just talking to yourself.
DD: As far as I can tell, darkness, both in society and behind closed doors, seems to be a key theme of your work. What is it about this subject that interests you?
The Glue Society: Ordinary things are extraordinary to us. Ordinary people are extraordinary. Within ordinary there is so much stuff that is taken for granted or assumed that is actually surprising. And indeed probably the real interesting stuff is the stuff that people don't talk about or keep to themselves. Breaking convention requires you to prove that it exists. And we do get off on doing that.
DD: As the range of your work is so vast, I guess you have quite a vast frame of reference when it comes to filmmaking. Who are your biggest influences?
The Glue Society: Between us it would be hard to say particular people. But in terms of people who we would admire right now it would have to be what Danny Boyle did with the Olympics and what Steve McQueen has achieved by working across many disciplines with such extraordinary effect.
DD: What's next for The Glue Society?
The Glue Society: We're hoping to do a lot of things we haven't done before – a film, a large project book, a tv series about solving social problems with innovative thinking. Oh and we hope to build a model railway with interactive webcams so we can sell advertising space on the side of the carriages.
Follow Matt Mansfield on Twitter here @mattmansfield_